(Im)materiality: Australian Artists in the Malaysian World @ Interpr8

Beautiful objects made in ancient times employ materials for its physical and functional properties. In the Western canon, materials used in art progressively got narrowed down to pigment and brush as the norm; In Eastern cultures, rare & raw materials are crafted into figurative representations, its substantial value equally treasured as much for its workmanship. Now, deconstruction is a common theme in contemporary art, where mass-produced products are utilised for its aesthetic and symbolic characteristics. Kassandra Bossell burns carbon to form opaque marks that complement the transparency of a wax covering, its ecological message hidden within her semi-luminous spheres. Former Rimbun Dahan resident artist Gabrielle Bates carves patterns out of cardboard packaging, the self-exorcising works depicting a beautiful order, that belies its meticulous stripping and cutting effort.

Gabrielle Bates - "Cheong Fatt Tze" Mansion

Eye-catching too are hanging structures made from readymade sieves, wire scoops, and trivets. Such constructs risk being located in a retail store front as decorative novelties, which leads to the question, "why try negating the functional value of a material?" Looking past a veil of plastic loops, the answer perhaps lies in Tim Craker's "Annual Income" series. Hollow metal objects are picked off the street and tied down to a heavyweight paper, each prized find placed onto a drawn grid signifying the months in a year. The shape of a  metal washer may reinforce the idea of the perfect circle, yet this accumulation of junk also includes keys, a potential lead to further riches. Isolating and deconstructing a material object is not to imply any intrinsic value, but a relatively convenient approach towards the act of presenting. The more culturally developed we are, the more we interpret simulacra, the more we regress into immaterial self-absorption.

Tim Craker - Spontaneous Combination #8 (2013)